JAKARTA: Lion Air reviews Boeing airplane orders in wake of crash Co-founder upset by Boeing statement on investigator report Any request to cancel would likely trigger negotiations Lion Air has 190 Boeing jets on order yet to be delivered Boeing says supporting Lion Air through “very tough time”
Indonesia’s Lion Air is reviewing airplane purchases from Boeing Co and has not ruled out cancelling orders as relations worsen in a spat over responsibility for a 737 jetliner crash that killed 189 people in late October, sources told.
Group Co-Founder Rusdi Kirana is furious over what he sees as attempts by Boeing to deflect attention from recent design changes and blame Lion Air for the crash, while the airline faces scrutiny over its maintenance record and pilots’ actions, said the people, who have knowledge of the matter.
Kirana is examining the possibility of cancelling remaining orders of Boeing jets “from the next delivery”, according to one of the sources who is familiar with his thinking. Another source close to the airline said it was looking at cancelling orders.
Kirana, a former group CEO who now serves as Indonesia’s ambassador to Malaysia, remains closely involved with Lion Air and hosts a monthly meeting in Kuala Lumpur with the heads of the group’s airlines based in Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand.
No final decision was made by Lion Air, but discussion over the fate of $22 billion of remaining orders highlights the stakes surrounding an investigation involving Boeing’s fastest-ever selling jet, the 737 MAX, which entered service last year.
Lion Air has 190 Boeing jets worth $22 billion at list prices waiting to be delivered, on top of 197 already taken, making it one of the largest U.S. export customers.
A Boeing spokesman said: “We are taking every measure to fully understand all aspects of this accident, and are working closely with the investigating team and all regulatory authorities involved. We are also supporting our valued customer through this very tough time.”
Boeing released the statement focusing on maintenance actions spread over four flights in the run-up to the fatal flight on Oct. 29, after investigators issued an interim report that did not give a cause for the crash.
Boeing is also examining software changes in the wake of the crash, while insisting longstanding procedures exist for pilots to cancel automated nose-down movements experienced by the 737 MAX in response to erroneous sensor readings.
It has come under fire from U.S. pilots for not mentioning the MCAS system – a modification of existing anti-stall systems – in the manual for the 737 MAX, which began service last year.